Dozer paid a visit to the dog doctor yesterday, as I like to refer to that nice Dr. Jacobs in Willits. When I use the word vet, the bulldog has a fit.
“Vets are for horses,” he might be saying. “I need a doctor.” It’s not as though Annie and I have not spoiled him, and this most recent bout with respiratory issues has us on the edge of our seats, a decidedly uncomfortable position for an old hippie.
Have you ever tried to take a bodacious hit of some Black Lime while on the edge of your seat? It could be hazardous to the health of one’s bong, not to mention one's self.
Do we spoil Dozer? You mean because we place his needs in front of our own? Because he runs this household with an iron paw? Because he can melt our hearts with one lopsided, half-racked smile? Because the thought of losing him-eventually-has begun to insert itself more and more into the picture?
|The bulldog can be suspicious.|
In dog years the Doze (8 years old) is 56. I used to be 56, but unlike Dozer, it took me seven years to get to 63. He will be there next April, so we’re talking about the inexorable march of time, on speed.
I am not one to dwell on the negative; it’s more of a flirtation. But when Dozer picked a fight with a pickup truck-complete with trailer-and lost recently, we connected that one dot that brought down the [sledge] hammer, bursting our bubble. He is not indestructible.
Like all good dogs, Dozer will go to the big dog heaven in the sky some day, leaving a hole in our hearts that will make the Grand Canyon look like a pot hole.
The fluid that appeared in his lungs a couple of weeks ago, turned him into a wheezing, hacking shadow of his former snoring, farting self. Bulldogs are notorious (in a comical sense) for their audio tracks, but this latest offering has taken matters to new heights.
He makes the Hack-Borough Man sound like a canary.
Besides being thunderously booming, it scares us because it’s different. Of all the preposterous noises that emanate forth from his body, most of which are most comical, this one has an ominous tone.
Did I say tone? It’s more of a dirge.
Anyone who has ever grown attached to a four-legged, wriggling mass of pure pleasure, knows the plug eventually gets pulled. While that thought hurts, it’s part of a package deal. You can’t have one without the other.
You can’t experience the high times of romping with your dog, without experiencing the low times of having to bury him. Conversely though, if you are in the throes of depression, it just means you did more than usual to make your dog’s short time here, the best it could be.
I take comfort knowing that Dozer is a special guy and that I am able to fully appreciate that, while he is still here. If that sounds somewhat shallow, I just mean I will never get to that point where I will say, “I wish I had better appreciated the old bully, while he was still here. Sigh.”
He can make Annie smile and that’s worth its weight in gold.
So yes, it tugs at my heartstrings when I hear him referred to as Grandpa, because his muzzle is getting gray. We’re all getting a little grayer, myself included. What’s a little gray here and there among friends?
Speaking for myself, I have no interest in turning the clock back; once through is enough. If I feel that way, then Dozer probably does too, if he is able to think.
Besides, I don’t know that he can’t think-I’ve just been told that.
On the other hand, if you have ever seen him go into his act, when he senses hard times are coming, you would know that he is no dummy. That’s why the word “vet” is to be avoided at all costs.
For a guy who allegedly cannot think, his face presents a pretty clear picture of what he is not “thinking.” His lower lip balloons out, his eyes become round and luminous, with just a hint of moisture in the deeply amber orbs, and he keeps flicking them down to the floor, and then back up at me.
“Noooooooooooooooooooooo, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze, Dad, can I just stay here and guard the house?”
“Dozer is a good boy,” I say for the fiftieth time today, and pat him on his head.
At least I would, except that he jerks his head back, out of reach.
“Humph. If you’re not going to do as I like, you can just leave your hands to yourself.” He doesn’t actually SAY the words; he does’t have to. I get it. Just as I get that all good things must come to an end.